Mask-wearing during a pandemic should not be a debate

By Ryan Codkind
April 28, 2021

While wearing masks have become a sign of the times as the world battles against the COVID-19 pandemic, not everyone is inclined to follow this guideline.

Since the early phases of the pandemic, government officials and public health organizations such as the CDC have made statements communicating to the public the severity of COVID-19 and the urgency of needing to slow the spread of the virus, so that hospitals are not overloaded with patients. One of the major recommendations that the CDC made was for people to stay six feet apart and to wear masks. However, people across the country have voiced many different opinions about the mask-wearing mandate.

Since the start of the pandemic, my family and I have taken every precaution necessary to keep ourselves and others safe. This includes keeping our distance from other people and wearing masks whenever we are out in public. After listening to medical experts weigh in on the topic, it made sense for us to follow these guidelines. 

Mask-wearing photo by Ryan Codkind

During this time, there have been many people who I have encountered that continue to doubt the severity of COVID-19 or feel that they do not want someone telling them what they can and cannot do. I have seen social media posts of college students my age continuing to party and gather in large groups without taking proper precautions. In addition, there are some states and businesses that have relaxed their restrictions on mask-wearing, which has sent mixed messages to the public. All of these are frustrating examples because even though I continue to try to protect myself and my family from the virus, there are others who do not pay attention to safety protocols. 

Even though I try to mind my own business when I see someone out in public not wearing a mask, it continues to bother me because it is not easy to determine when someone is an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. As someone who holds a job where I am required to interact with many people throughout the day, it can be scary to think that people who are not taking precautions can potentially be putting myself and those that I care about at risk.

I have noticed that as more people get vaccinated, more of them say that they no longer need a mask to protect themselves. This is also concerning because there are certain areas of the country where cases are rising quickly even with the steps we are taking to vaccinate the public.

“Virus” by Daquella manera is marked with CC0 1.0

One of the biggest reasons that mask-wearing has become such a controversial topic is because it has become a political issue rather than a public health issue. Over the past year, political parties have taken drastically different stances on the response to COVID-19, which has often included whether or not face masks are effective.

The fact that this became more of a political decision as opposed to a health and wellness decision is frightening. This shows how far we have drifted away from being able to trust what we are hearing in the media. 

Personally, I feel that until it is proven otherwise, erring on the side of caution and protecting those who are vulnerable in society makes the most sense to me. My hope is that as we continue to battle this pandemic, we will continue to take every precaution necessary to ensure that we protect ourselves and those around us. 

Ryan Codkind

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